China is allowing more foreign films to be released this year than ever before, and that means you're going to want to catch some major blockbusters before 2016 is over.
The usual number of movies foreign film studios are allowed to release in China is 34 per year. However, for the first time 38 imported films will be up on the big screen. Films such as Deepwater Horizon, Keeping Up With the Joneses and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children have finally been given release dates, while Doctor Strange, Trolls, Allied, Moana and Sully are all confirmed to be screened in the coming weeks. The films will be released throughout November and December, the prime moviegoing time of year when spots are usually reserved for Chinese films.
The current foreign film quota was set in 2012, when it was raised from 20 to 34 films a year. But according to China Film Insider, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) denied that they had eased the quota, saying instead that some of the films did not count towards the number since they fell under “cultural exchange programs.”
The Chinese box office has been growing at an annual rate of 34 percent over the past five years. The biggest surge was in 2015, when the Chinese box office increased 49 percent, which was partially due ghost screenings and heavy ticket discounts. ('Ghost screenings' involve the practice of selling tickets in bulk to inflate box office numbers). However, the government has made a big push towards shutting down these bad practices.
There is hope for more imported films due to the high profits they generate. Last summer, 100 movies were approved for theatrical release, while 18 imported films produced around of half the box office receipts.
In 2016, three out of the top five highest grossing box office films were from the US.
[Images via Wall Street Journal, IMDB]